Monday, April 2, 2012

Curiosity never killed any cat

I realised today how valuable it has been for me to be curious.

I caught up with Mark and Matt at Collabforge for a discussion on government, collaboration, consulting and complexity.  By all rights - at least according to my CV - I shouldn't be able to engage on any but the first of these topics, and I certainly shouldn't have anything to contribute.  My CV shows a few areas I've been able to lay some foundations of expertise, through experience. I'm the first to admit there isn't much there (I've written before about how shallow my skillset is). But my curiosity has served me well.

I've always been a proactive learner. So in a workday I would chase references and leads to understand the policy context, rationales, mechanisms, alternatives... irrespective of whether I could identify its value. Often I would stay back for the sake of chasing things up - and though I enjoyed it, at times I definitely questioned whether I was wasting my time.

Curious cat! It never hurt (... or at least, it was worth it anyway)

But the investment is paying dividends, as my understanding proves useful in exploring new options, making connections, and in general finding my way.

In particular, understanding is a critical base for forging my own path.  If I hadn't taken that time to look out at the world, I wouldn't know how to leave the public service, even if I had a sense of the need to move.  I'd have been, in short, where I was when I left uni - a wealth of opportunities, but clueless as to how to find them.

So - be curious! It can be good for you, even if it seems like a waste at the time.

John Baxter

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